The T.O. Squeeze

If there was one thing that might have made Cowboys’ wide receiver Terrell Owens sympathetic, it was the notion that behind the smirky veneer he was so conflicted as to be suicidal. And here we are, maybe.

To catch you up, first a leaked Dallas Police report indicated Owens was taken to the hospital after affirming he had intentionally swallowed dozens of painkillers in a suicide attempt. After being released, T.O. caught passes from quarterback Drew Bledsoe that same afternoon.

By 3:30 p.m. he held a press conference where he and his publicist, who had been dragged into the story after calling the police and allegedly prying pills out of Owens’ mouth, denied it was a suicide attempt. Instead, they said Owens had a bad reaction when he mixed the natural supplements he takes with prescribed pain medication.

Now the Dallas Police have reclassified the Owens’ episode as an accidental overdose. although the president of the police officers’ union demanded an apology. Breathing new life into the story, Owens’ longtime trainer now says that a perfect storm of personal and physical setbacks had left the controversial receiver in a deep funk. For his troubles, said trainer got canned.

This sort of attention is nothing new to Owens, who has lived with the prefix “controversial” for some seven years. Nor is the wild, media melee. On Wednesday ESPN and ESPN News each dedicated a three-hour run-up to Owens’ 3 p.m. news conference. The network saw a 40 percent bump in viewership over their normal programming, according to the Fort Worth Star Telegram. Psychologists were called. His former teammates at the Philadelphia Eagles were questioned.

As for sports columnists, well, let’s just say they pray for a rainmaker like Owens. The hullabaloo was enough to make media watchdogs start yelping and yipping.

Prone to less hand-wringing, bookies had their own reaction. The odds that the Cowboys will make the Superbowl have taken a drastic hit since T.O.’s “allergic reaction.”

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